Mark 1 - the Son of Man and Anger

Mark starts his gospel with the story of John the Baptist.
Many of you have heard me say something like this more than once: John the Baptist came from the monastic-like group that lived in caves by the Dead Sea - where we found the Dead Sea Scrolls.

A group of probably around 30-50 priests left the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt, sometime between 160 and 130 BC, claiming that the Temple and the priesthood had been corrupted. They established the Qumran Community next to the Dead Sea.

[MAP] - This compound was around 13 miles from Jerusalem.

This community believed themselves to be the representation of the prophet Elijah and saw their mission to prepare the way for the Messiah. John the Baptist appears to have joined this community - this is his message - Messiah is coming.

You remember that the scribes and Pharisees did not seem to like John. Why not?

He was telling them to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Basically he was ursurping the entire system of the Temple with animal sacrifices - thus he was attacking the priesthood.

I think the priests knew he represented this rogue group that lived in the desert. Herod had John executed for attacking his divorce and remarriage, but the priests attacked John for his lack of respect towards them and the Temple.

This should remind some of you about how the Hellenized Jews thought about the Temple.

This should also bring into more clarity how and why Jesus came under attack.

He was John's cousin.
He was baptized by John in public.
He spoke respectfully of John's ministry.
In Mark 9 Jesus tells His disciples that John the Baptist was Elijah and that the leaders killed him.

AND Jesus was not a fan of the Temple. He called it a den of thieves.

And remember, John is described by Mark as:
6 John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

Here is how Elijah was described in 2 Kings 1:
...[he] had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.

John the Baptist appears to personify the vision of Elijah's return.
And Mark wants his Jewish readers to HEAR this. Some of John's disciples followed Jesus and some of John's crowds came to Jesus.

The Leather Belt holds up a man's tunic around his waist so he can move quickly AND a leather belt holds a man's small sword and a knife.

They used their knife for a multitude of reasons: cut food, cut branchs. A short sword [like the one Peter drew at the arrest of Jesus] was for protection against wild animals, or self-defense.

Does anyone remember Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel in 1 Kings 18? What did he do once he won the conflict?

He had them all killed.
With what? Probably with short swords.

John the Baptist was rough and rugged. The War Scrolls talk about war. I would bet John carried a short sword and gave the impression that he was not a man to be messed with.

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How about Jesus?
I mentioned that Mark shows more anger in Jesus than the other gospel writers.

- Mark opens with the Baptist, fueled with the Son of Man vision of Daniel. The Qumran vision of fighting off the enemies of God - they were thinking the Romans and those who had corrupted the Temple.

- Jesus ventures into the wilderness after being baptized by John.

- 1:21ff - teaches in a synagogue on Sabbath, casts out a demon.
v25 - Jesus commands the demon to shut up

v34 - casting out demons "he would not allow the demons to speak because they knew who he was..."

- 1:41ff - a leper comes for healing
Jesus is angry! AFTER healing the man
v43 Jesus "charged him sternly (sharply and threateningly, and with earnest admonition)" NOT to tell anyone.

v45 Jesus tried to stay to himself, but people kept coming to him.

2:1ff - Jesus heals a paralytic in the house of Peter
2:6 - "Now some of the scribes were sitting there...questioning in their hearts..." v7 Why does this man say these things? He is blaspheming. Only God can forgive sins.

v9 Jesus says to them, "Which is easier?..."
[How do you invision Jesus saying this?]

2:14 - Jesus calls Levi (Matthew), the tax collector.
Jesus goes to a party at Matthew's house and parties with "sinners and tax collectors."

v16 - Some Pharisees are either there or know Jesus is there?!?
Why are they there?

They're complaining that Jesus is eating with sinners.

2:23 - One Sabbath Jesus and disciples were picking grain in the field...and the Pharisees are angry with him. "It is not lawful."

Jesus argues with them, showing them how the Law was broken by King David. Then he ends that discussion,

v28 - "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

Ch 3 - The Pharisees watch Jesus closely on the Sabbath to see IF he would heal a man with a deformed hand. They were looking for a reason to accuse him.

v3,4 - Jesus tells the man to stand up in front of everyone.
He asks if it is lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath.
The Pharisees remained silent.

v5 - Jesus looked around at them vexed with anger..."deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts."

He heals the man and in v6 the Pharisees began to plot how they could kill Jesus.



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Troy, AL 36079